Wellbeing and discipleship
Bishop Sarah writes about the different resources available to support our wellbeing.
Wellbeing is such a familiar word that we can underestimate its vital importance. Our thriving as disciples of Christ is rooted in our relationships with God and other people, in our freedom to fulfil our various callings, and in our ability to find meaning in our everyday lives. Wellbeing is spiritual, physical, mental, relational and vocational.
On 23rd March, the anniversary of the first lockdown, I will be exploring mental health at the invitation of GoHealth – bookings can be made here. You can also hear a conversation I had some weeks ago with Rosemary Lain-Priestley around mental wellbeing, for individuals and for churches, here.
If your church would like to explore questions around health and healing from a Christian perspective the GoHealth website offers ideas, training and support. The Healthy Healing Hubs initiative resources churches to live by the truth that healing is not just about holding a ‘healing service’, but God’s healing through sacrament, pastoral ministry and outreach’.
The Wellbeing pages of our diocesan website have been refreshed during the pandemic with new links and signposts to a wide range of support and resources for individuals and households.
How Clergy Thrive is an excellent new resource which has grown out of the Church of England’s ‘Living Ministry’ project. Downloadable here (churchofengland.org) or available in hard copy it is based on research over a ten year period with several cohorts of clergy and is a rich basis for an Area or Chapter Study Day.
The Sheldon Hub, developed by the Society of Mary and Martha, is an independent and supportive community as well as offering resources, forums, blog posts and information.
Of course one of things to which Sheldon have alerted us in the recent past is the impact which institutions and their structures and processes have on those who work and minister in them. It is my hope and intention that we continue to encourage a culture in our Diocese which recognises this truth, creating the best possible structures and making space for the most important conversations about those things which can either help or hinder the wellbeing of clergy and lay people.
Our Ministerial Development Review (MDR) process is another key tool for reflecting on our calling and therefore our discipleship and wellbeing. We are fortunate to have ministerial review consultants from a wide variety of backgrounds, bringing a depth and breadth of experience which is much appreciated by many of our clergy. A review is currently being undertaken of that MDR process as we seek, as ever, to do things better.
These are some of the resources on offer as we grow in our discipleship of Christ, whose love is the ultimate source of all our wellbeing. Remembering the words of St Paul to the Ephesians, I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being ‘rooted and grounded’ in love and that you may know the breadth, length, height and depth of that love as you take seriously your own wellbeing and that of those with whom you live and minister.